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dVerse — MTB — I, Ginger Baker

Baker is credited as having authored rock’s first epic drum solo
Ginger Baker, “Rock Drumming Colossus,” photo by Rex


I, Peter Edward Baker, was born in South London on August 19, 1939,
the son of me mum, Ruby, who worked in a tobacco shop and me da,
a bricklayer son of a bricklayer – until the Royal Signal Corps
put him on the front lines.

Blitzkreig bombings started when I was a wee lad of a year, until I was two.
Da’s booming voice was now the bombs, always coming. The tick tick tick
as they came in, then silence before KA-BOOM. Something about the noise
was soothing, like having da home.

Old tin cans and sticks found in the rubble is when I started.
Mum got news when I was 4 that da wasn’t coming home.
Blasted trying to take Dodecanese islands from Italians
My ginger curls bounced as I made da’s voice immortal

At fifteen, Phil Seamen, THE jazz drummer of the time, took me on
He shot up as we listened to African beats; he made me promise
never to touch the stuff myself. Phil, you taught me everything.
In the 60’s I picked up the needle. It’s what you do not what you say.

Quiet never suited me. When I put the sticks down chaos filled the spaces
Four wives, three children, and band after band after band
London, Canterbury, Italy, Nigeria, Lagos, California, Colorado,
South Africa, pounding two bass drums and anyone I loved

Despite the punishment I gave this body – I quit smack 29 times! –
It kept moving until finally my lungs stopped puffing and my skipping
heart let me know it wouldn’t be ignored anymore — then stopped.
On October 6, 2019, under my earth blanket, I can finally rest in peace.

May 2015:


Grace is today’s host of dVerse.  Grace says:
…for today’s Poetics prompt, compose a poem using “I am…” with a First Person narrative.

59 thoughts on “dVerse — MTB — I, Ginger Baker

  1. Goodness, what a life and an adventure. That part of living during war time must be really scary. Quiet never suited him for sure with different music bands. You got his tone and words Lisa as if you are the character, Ginger Baker.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Ginger, I was born in South London, and my birthday is in August. I can’t believe he was only two years younger than my mum! He grew up in Lewisham, where my Aunt Lille lived, not far from Bermondsey, where the rest of my mum’s lot lived and where my children’s WW2 novel is set. I used to love Cream and remember their last concert. He was an incredible drummer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim, I envy you that close connection to Ginger’s home turf. Your Aunt or other relatives probably ran across him at some point. To think your mum went through some of that same war trauma… Cream may be the best blues rock group that ever existed. I want to get that Live at Albert Hall DVD. Borrowed it from the library a few months back and was really overcome by watching it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is an incredible poem. I adore Bio-Poetics. i’ve done several, like John Lennon, and Sylvia Plath. I find famous voices a bit transformative. This piece fills in a lot of gaps, and packs a whole life into one page; so cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this is absolutely incredible. I was blown away especially by the first few lines, and this was so beautifully entwined with impactful and heartbreaking imagery. This was a journey in your words, and I am in awe. Excellent, powerful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, you captured his voice and his life so well I could see him, though I had not known about him. What a roller coaster of a life he lived and I’ll bet he loved it, despite the struggles.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nicely done. While he wasn’t exactly the affectionate type, as vividly illustrated in the great film documentary “Beware of Mr. Baker,” there’s no question he was one hell of a drummer. Obviously, an integral part of Cream, a giant among the super-groups and perhaps the most compelling rock trio ever. Though I will say that listening to 13 minutes of Toad borders on torture! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ken. Seems like Ginger got a bad rap a lot of the time, most of which he probably deserved, but no matter how rotten a person can be there is always good there too. Seems like a lot of those who were interviewed in the doc were either scared of him or not being sincere. That hurt to observe.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My sweetheart is a drummer, when she pats my back it exudes rhythmic competence and joy, I asked her what type of drum I am, and she told me, “baby you’re the whole kit.” We are listening to Toad you posted while I read her your poem. She comments that it is so sad that the music industry has exposed so many to addictions, she says many take it just to go to sleep, or to stay awake and it is readily available. Baker is incredible, and your poem dances incredibly when read along to Toad. Thank you Lisa for teaching more about him, all the explosions, the stress, the wars, the loss, the cautionary tale “it’s what you say not what you do.” pounding out in joy to us. What is more spiritual than a person anyway. Here is wishing us all some sunshine of love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your and your sweetheart’s comments give me such happiness, that you feel Ginger in the words. Listening to Toad while reading the poem is an excellent idea and will try it. Lona, you are “the whole kit” and glad you found your drummer ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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